The world can feel against you

Every day I’m thankful to you my fellow good life builders for walking alongside me because,  it feels like the world wants me to put Isaac in a group home and sign him up for a day program.

The NDIA thinks this is the best and most value for money option – it’s not of course.

People in the community seem to think that he is taken care of by “professionals” and they don’t need to worry or do anything for him.

Other families  choose day programs and group homes and don’t understand why I put in the effort to give him a typical life.

It would be easy to give up

It’s often such a struggle to make a typical life happen – at least in the early days it is.  I found that after a while it gained momentum and others around me helped make it happen.  But as you may know, we’ve moved interstate and started again.   So we are back in the grind of finding connections and making things happen.

It would be ever so easy to give up.  “I’m getting too old for this shit” goes through my head every day.

But my tribe keeps me going

Seeing the great stories of people with disabilities, backed by family and friends living typical lives reminds me it is all possible and just around the corner.

Surrounding yourself with others who are striving for the typical life and urging you on is what one of the reasons for setting up The Good Life Builders.

But I don’t want it to just be an online community either.

Take the opportunity to meet like minded families in person

When I was very very new to the possibilities of Isaac living a typical life I was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to Canada on an exchange program with other Australian families to see what Inclusion Alberta was doing to help people with disability to live typical lives.

The airfares were sponsored but how I was going to find two weeks to get away to Canada seemed impossible.  I was a single mum of two primary aged boys, struggling to work, study and pay the mortgage. I didn’t have time to go to Canada for two whole weeks.  Where would the boys stay?  I didn’t have enough leave left so paying the mortgage would be hard. I had uni exams the week I got back so when would I study for them?

Prioritise the opportunity to find your tribe

But something told me I couldn’t miss it.  So I made it happen.  My eldest boy stayed with a friend and his family.  Isaac went to respite care (which he hated but two weeks wouldn’t kill him).  I sold some of my computer gear so I’d have the cash to pay the mortgage and I studied on the plane (and eventually managed to pass).

I spent the entire trip having my eyes opened to the possibilities.  I cried most of the time.  I cried because I was angry that nobody told me about the possibilities.  I cried because I wasn’t sure it would be possible for Isaac or if I could do it.

But during that time as well as learning about the possibilities I also met some great Aussie mums doing great things.  The experience of going to Canada together formed some long lasting friendships and bonds.  We don’t see each other a lot these days but when we do, it’s always so energising.  We’ve watched each other and been inspired to build good lives for our family members with disability and help others in the community do the same.

I’m hoping the Good Life Builders Get Stuff Done Retreat might be one of those events for some of you.  There is nothing like building connections in person and forming long lasting allies in this tough gig of ours.

Whatever event you choose to go to, I hope you can find your “Canada Trip”.  Without mine I wouldn’t be here.

Here we all are……


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